MEDIA ALERT: Lindsay Wildlife Experience Implements Safety Measures to Address Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WALNUT CREEK, CALIF., — Due to the confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in wild birds in California on July 14 in Colusa and Glenn counties, Lindsay Wildlife Experience is taking necessary measures to protect the health and safety of its resident avian animal ambassadors and current wildlife patients.
Effective July 14, the Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital is implementing biosecurity measures to keep avian animal ambassadors safe, and is temporarily adjusting rehabilitation protocols for certain avian species including raptors, corvids and quail. Sick or injured raptors and corvids should still be brought to the hospital where they will be evaluated. Rescuers should continue to take waterfowl and shorebirds directly to International Bird Rescue in Fairfield.
Additionally, starting Sunday, July 16, some of Lindsay’s avian animal ambassadors including raptors such as owls and hawks, will be temporarily off exhibit to minimize any potential exposure to the Eurasian H5 HPAI flu strain, which can be tracked indoors on shoes or clothing. Safety measures are also being implemented for the avian animal ambassadors that live outdoors so that the public can continue to visit them and learn about wildlife.
While avian influenza viruses circulate naturally in waterfowl, the Eurasian H5 HPAI strain is particularly contagious and has caused illness and death in more than 28 million birds in the United States since its detection in January 2022. There is no cure for the disease, and sick birds must be humanely euthanized to stop it from spreading. The H5 HPAI strain affects waterfowl and shorebirds and can infect avian predators or scavengers including eagles, other raptors, crows, ravens, gulls and vultures if they are exposed when feeding on infected waterbirds. Spread through the air or by direct contact with infected surfaces, the H5 HPAI strain is highly contagious in poultry and causes significant mortality. Birds raised in captivity, such as other gallinaceous birds (turkeys, pheasants, grouse, quail) and waterfowl (ducks, geese, swans), may also be at high risk of acquiring and transmitting the virus.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported the virus was confirmed in two Canada geese and one American white pelican that were collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on July 5 during a significant mortality event at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
During this time, Lindsay Wildlife recommends that owners of backyard flocks and pet birds consult with veterinarians about how best to protect flocks and help reduce the spread of HPAI. The public should also remove bird feeders and bird baths until the situation is resolved. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently considers the transmission risk of avian influenza to humans to be low, but recommends gloves, face masks, hand-washing and other protective measures during contact with wild birds and domestic poultry.
For detailed information about avian influenza or to report a deceased bird, please visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Disease and Mortality Monitoring webpage. The public may call the Lindsay Wildlife hospital hotline at (925) 659-8156 for questions about sick or injured wildlife or before bringing an animal to the hospital.
About Lindsay Wildlife Experience:
Lindsay connects people with wildlife to inspire responsibility and respect for the world we share. It is a unique natural history and environmental education center where wild live animals are just inches away from visitors. It serves more than 100,000 children and adults and treats more than 5,000 animals each year at the first wildlife rehabilitation hospital established in the U.S.